Date: September 28, 2012
Maikeru returns to the cave to take on the Crawler and its minions once again and begin repairs on the seal.
Poster's note: Foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Darkness Incarnate - Return to Darkness"
The morning after the first trip into the cave, Maikeru stands outside its mouth preparing for his next trip inside. A couple bags of tools lay nearby, containing a pickaxe, some mortar, floating tools, about anything he might need to smooth out the crack in the cave so the seal can be repaired. Despite the events of the night before, he seems fairly rested and prepared to go in. Of course, that could just be an act, but who really knows.
After speaking with the monks for a few moments, the Jounin approaches the cave. He inspects the barrier around it for a few moments, pondering then shrugging his shoulders. 'Are you going to hang aronud the cave again today, or are you just going to listen in from your room?' the mental message would go out to Sachiko, the line of communication open now as he starts to do a few stretches, getting his body prepared because he knows he's going to be fighting those things again.
Sachiko is meanwhile in her room, groggily getting ready. When she hears Maikeru, she verbally sighs and answers, 'I'll be there. Just need to get my bearings.' After getting dressed and waking herself up some more, she heads out to sit a bit closer than she did the day before. Then she starts creating some new sentries, having lost concentration on quite a few of them over the course of the night. She makes a point to avoid the monks seeing her do this, of course. 'This whole thing would probably be easier if you were deaf. That… thing — whatever it is — is obnoxious and really creepy.'
Folding his arms over his chest, Maikeru glances around as he waits for Sachiko. When she comes out and begins to re-establish her 'sonar' over the area, he smirks slightly and looks over to her before turning back to the mouth of the cave. 'No kidding. Can't say he's wrong about everything, though…. Here we go.' With that, he steps up the to mouth of the cave as the monks open a hole in it just longer enough for him to move through and close it right behind him.
"You have returned to darkness. Do you know now that you can never escape?"
'I'd prefer it if you /could/ say he was wrong…' Even so, Sachiko doesn't actually argue with him and just leans back against a stone, much like before. When she hears the voice again, she subtley rolls her eyes. Here we go again… This time, though, she doesn't start pestering Maikeru with her 'reassuring' thoughts. So far, he's perfectly fine. That much is obvious.
While he could make some kind of comeback, Maikeru is more focussed on the situation at hand. After all, surviving this is a lot more important than one-upping Sachiko. He glances around, brows furrowing a bit as things seem to be a bit too calm so far. Things like this are never good. It means the creatures have something planned. Still… He has a job to do, and thus he walks forward toward the seal. The quiet remains up until he gets about ten feet from the seal, and the black creatures begin to come out of the darkness around its glow in hordes, along with some already possessing suits of armor.
"Watch your flesh turn to black. Watch your thoughts turn to black. Watch your fate turn to black."
Sachiko settles in for the day, inwardly wondering if she should be attempting to keep an eye on Suterusu as well as the monks… Sure, he's there to protect her but even so, he's pretty creepy himself. Never know what a 'nobody' might be up to. Regardless of his change in name, that's still what he is to her. Yawning deeply, she years the creature's comments and glances toward the cave. She really hopes Maikeru's thoughts aren't going to 'turn to black' because that might really affect her and… that would just black.
As the creatures begin to rush him, Maikeru drops his toolbags and quickly reaches for his sword. The dark creatures begin to swarm him, striking and clawing at his chakra-armored flesh as he begins to strike at them with his sword. He reaches his hand forward to grab one of the armored creatures with a giant form of his right hand, grabbing it and throwing it against another. That knocks some of them back in turn with a domino-like effect, though that only lasts for a moment before the creatures flood in again.
"Accept death now. It is so much easier than what is to come."
Sachiko emits an exhasperated sigh as things start up within the cave. This is just crazy. When she hears what 'the darkness' has to say, her immediate response is 'Yeah, no.' which she accidentally projects at Maikeru. It's obvious she doesn't really realize that she did it. She just yawns again, closing her eyes and just trying to relax… even given what she's half-witnessing.
While Maikeru appears to be doing okay, the creatures' numbers seem to only keep rising. There is no time to respond to Sachiko as more and more of these things pour out of the darkness.
"You try to fight, but you are made of sand. You will fall apart between our fingers."
Their numbers finally reach a point he can't deal with using only normal jutsu, and thus he finally points his hand forward, creating an orb and sending out more controlled form of Jigoku Supernova that doesn't explode quite as violently. He does this a few times, sending flares of darkness and bits of armor flying through the air. Finally, they seem to stop for the moment, long enough for him to let out a breath and pick up his tools to make his way over to the seal. This is definitely not one of those laid back, 'pie in the sky' missions.
Sachiko takes a deep breath, listening to everything she can and gulping. She really doesn't like this… However, when Maikeru seems to take care of things pretty quickly this time, all considered, she inwardly sighs in relief. So… she focuses her attention elsewhere for now, checking on her sentries once again.
Maikeru studies the gap in the seal, looking it up and down several times and grabbing a measuring tape from his bag to figure out exactly how much of a gap he needs to fill. Everything seems to go smoothly for a while, as he has time to do this and begin hacking away at rocks with the pickaxe to gather some stone to fill the gap. Perhaps he's beaten them back for now.
On the outside, besides the normal conversations of the town going on, Sachiko would hear the murmuring of the monks and their elder as they walk down the street from the monastery.
"I wonder if that boy is still alive."
"We'd have likely heard his screams by now if they had ripped him apart."
"Is it really right, master? Can we expect such sacrifice from others to save us?"
"It is a matter of necessity, my child. No matter who has to die, we can't let the Crawler enter this world."
Hearing this, Sachiko looks a little shocked for a moment before covering up her reaction. Instead, she goes back to her generally-agitated expression… even if it slightly more intense now. 'Mai… Be careful. I think they may have kept some information from you. I'd really rather you not die… Not when I can hear it. Besides, you are kind of my way back to Sunagakure and I won't take kindly to being a sacrifice if you fail.' She does, of course, expand upon this with specifics of what she heard.
As Sachiko speaks to him, Maikeru blinks and pauses a moment in his work to listen as she explains. Once she is done, he shrugs his shoulders and starts to pick up the fallen stones, carrying them over to the seal. 'Just act as if all is normal for now and continue to monitor them. We don't have enough information to know right now if they are planning anything treacherous.' Just as he finishes carrying stones back and forth, sweat dripping down his forehead, the voice rings out again, and darkness seems to spill out of the seal, the crack breaking just a bit more as it flows out into the darkness of the cave.
"The dark guardian shall come and protect us… And all that is flesh and light shall die."
'Whatever you say, Captain,' she responds with a bit of sarcasm. Sachiko just relaxes back into the stone she's leaning against and sighs. Her sentry ears and eyes continue to do their job, some wandering, some finding places in heavily trafficked spots to just sit and wait. When she hears the 'warning' from what she now assumes to be the Crawler, she furrows her brow a bit. Oh… yay…
What the voice means by dark guardian becomes disturbing clear as the ground starts to shake with the steps of something enormous. Out of the darkness, several large statues with scepters in the hands walk toward Maikeru, all standing at least twelve feet tall. The Jounin blinks a few times and places his sword back in the sword on his back. It's not likely that a steel blade is going to do much good against these things.
"Death beats its wings for you."
Stepping into stance as the statues surround him, Maikeru tries to figure out a way out of this without wrecking the cave and making it fall in on him. 'These things are bloody persistent.'
'I can't really blame them. I wouldn't want to get locked away from my food, either. Even so, let's not do the dying thing, even if he put it so… prettily.' Sachiko resists a snicker that bubbles up in the back of her throat. Don't want to attract attention, after all. Of course, if she started laughing at random, the monks would probably just think she was a bit crazy… and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but still…
Maikeru glances around at the statues as they come toward him. He ponders a bit then creates a giant form of his hand and sends it flying at the statue in the middle, hitting it hard enough to knock it backwards. It staggers back long enough for him to flicker past it toward the entrance of the cave. However, as soon as he does, more of the black creatures appear around him, swarming him and clawing and striking at him as the statues turn and begin to move toward him again.
Sachiko gazes toward the cave as this starts to happen. She isn't really positive on what's going on, but whatever it is, she knows for certain it isn't good. She /wants/ to ask him if he's alright, but it's likely he'll just tell her to shut up again… So between not wanting to distract him and not wanting to irritate him, she doesn't bother projecting the question. She just waits… hoping he'll be fine.
The numbers of dark creatures continues to increase more and more, the Jounin outnumbered even for himself in this situation as they start to knock him back toward the seal and the giant statues. He strikes back at them as much as he can, but their sheer numbers are too much.
"What happens to this pieces of flesh when darkness touches its soul?"
As the dark creatures continue to swarm and bring Maikeru to the ground, he seems to disappear into them as they claw and strike at him. The giant statues strike the ground with their scepters, sending dark chakra flowing on the ground to capture Maikeru and bind him down.
"He bleeds light and fades away. It is a beautiful sight. You should see it!" Does the creature know that Sachiko is listening?
This whole situation is quite stressful for Sachiko, since even if she was able to get in there to help Maikeru, she lacks any real way of doing so. For a moment, she tries to focus solely on her sentries. She ends up a little confused by the Crawler's comments at first. When she realizes it could be aimed at her, though, she is shocked. No way… Not possible. Swallowing hard, she ignores it, waiting for Maikeru to say something if possible. Don't agitate him, she keeps telling herself. Let him focus… He can definitely get through this.
"We are coming, for all those you wish to protect, all those you wish to save… But you, too, wish for the black void… You tire of your travels, your burdens, the cries of the helpless, the cries of your dead. You will be swallowed by darkness."
The swarm of darkness continues to grow thicker and thicker, yet another darkness comes from beneath it. The blood red chakra of Maikeru begins to break through the black swarm. Some of them are blown back, yet, as he is revealed again, it becomes apparent that his body is trapped by some sort of black ooze that covers his lower body and some of his upper body, holding him down.
"You can never escape darkness. It flocks to you always. It is part of you that will never go away."
Sachiko subtly shivers, listening to all the Crawler has to say. Then, she stretches and moves to stand, leaning against the boulder. This dims… Should she say something to the monks? Would they even do anything if she did? Gritting her teeth slightly, she tries to keep herself calm, but it's difficult. She wants to hit someone for once… just to get some frustration and stress out of her. And to think the day's just begun… This trip is going to be terrible.
As the ooze starts to crawl up his body, Maikeru lets out a grunt and brings his hands into a seal. The dark chakra coming from him seems to strengthen a bit. "Multi Jigoku Clone," he says in a low voice before about ten copies of Jigoku appear around him. A light smirk tugs at his lips as the clones begin to fight against the dark creatures. However, the ooze continues to crawl up and cover him, and then…
In a dark flash, a transparent form of Crawler himself appears before Maikeru, its hideous skull-like face looking directly at him. Its long talon-like hand comes up, a spiked finger pointing directly at Maikeru as its laughs darkly. "We have waited centuries for you."
That seems… strange to Sachiko. 'They've been waiting for you? I wonder if they called for you by name… and the monks were able to summon you specifically 'by accident' simply because they knew what to ask for and where from,' she suggests uncertainly. Maybe they just had to wait until he was 'ripe' or some stupid crap like that? She has no idea, but this is getting weirder by the second and she's struggling not to start screaming at the nearest monk to get him out of there somehow.
While Maikeru doesn't exactly send a message back to Sachiko, it becomes apparent that the best solution is just to wait and see. "Your darkness beckons to us. Accept it or be devoured by it." As it speaks, the ooze covers Maikeru's body completely. When it starts to flow back down, his eyes are surrounded by black circles, and he blinks a few times. He starts to look kind of freaked out, and a massive burst of chakra flows out from him and blows the ooze away.
"It doesn't matter if you leave. We are inside you. Your heart, your lungs, your thoughts will all be blackened."
'The Dusk…' Maikeru falls to his knees and starts to search around, squinting his eyes as he dark creatures finally retreat again. 'That thing's poison… blinded me.' With a flicker, he hits the barrier of the cave, bouncing off it onto the ground behind it. The monks open a hole in it just long enough to drag Maikeru's body out of it and look him over to see how serious his ailment is. Apparently, this is something they've dealt with before. 'Where are you?'
Sachiko listens intently to everything that goes on and her eyes widen when she hears his explanation of his panic. 'Shit' is the only thing that comes to her mind and she shifts to stand upright when she hears him hit the barrier. As he's pulled out of the cave, she moves forward and, for once showing some sort of effort in something, shoves a monk out of her way to crouch next to Maikeru.
Her brow furrowed, she looks him over and reaches out to touch his face, cupping her hand near his temple. 'I'm right here. C'mon… you need to rest,' she claims and shifts to put an arm around him. Pulling him to a stand, she starts to lead him toward the hotel. She knows what it's like to be blind… even if she has a 'cure' for it. It's not fun, and she can only imagine how panic-inducing being /suddenly/ blind could be. But she does have to wonder… how he's going to keep working on the seal if he's blind.